Honestly…how friggin’ lucky are Channel Ten!
Welcome to AFL season 2009 and year two of Half Back Flanker! The last footy-free weekend for six months has passed and now it is just a matter of days until the madness kicks off at the MCG between Chris Judd and Ben Cousins…and whoever it is they play for.
Normally, the free weekend between the NAP Cup final and the opening round allows us footy heads one final opportunity to indulge in some non-AFL activity. You know; some relaxation, a few household chores and meaningful conversation with loved ones – all those activities that fall by the wayside once the season swings into action.
There were plenty of memorable moments during Channel Seven’s The Essence Of The Game documentary last Friday night. This was NOT one of them!
This year, in a radical departure from recent years, we received something a little extra to help celebrate the oncoming season – some decent footy-based television viewing! If the football documentary The Essence Of The Game that screened on Channel Seven on Friday night didn’t get you all fired up for AFL footy then you must be crazy! Or a Geelong supporter who did not enjoy reliving the events of grand final day 2008…in which case, Sunday’s viewing would not have been that enjoyable either!
After a slow build-up to the new season, that doco has me primed for footy season. Chuck in the unveiling of the kick-ass AFL season launch commercial and that grand final rematch next Friday night can’t come fast enough! The AFL’s biggest stars, some impressive CGI work, the Dropkick Murphys blaring in the background…doesn’t get much better than that!
Some rare kudos to the AFL’s marketing gurus – the new ad rocks!
So, what can we expect from season 2009? Hawthorn and Geelong will rightly start off as the two favourites to reach the grand final but identifying which team will rise to become their biggest challenger is not so clear cut. The Doggies were the third best side last year but prolonged success is something this club has struggled to achieve. St Kilda have been touted as The Next Big Thing for five years now but we are still waiting, waiting, waiting. They were downright lucky to finish in the top four in ’08 and anywhere between the GF and tenth spot would not surprise me!
North Melbourne are tipped to tumble down the ladder every year but always seem to deliver – they are the anti-Saints! The Crows? The Swans? Both make me sleepy! Collingwood? Can’t bear the thought…but of those teams just outside the top four from last year, they loom as the most likely to challenge. Carlton and Richmond are soooooo hot right now but just making the finals would be a fine achievement.
Which reminds me…should probably have a shot at ranking the sixteen teams in order of ladder position after round twenty two in the next day or so. Though last year I had the Bulldogs in the bottom four…so much for credibility!